By Ed Kitchener
As Liverpool are approaching the January transfer window, questions will be asked to what Liverpool may need to do, to improve their squad to be successful in the second period of the season. The Reds find themselves 9th in the Premier League, only 5 points off 4th place. We would assume one of the main goals for Jürgen Klopp would be to obtain Champions League football, and to do this he may decide to invest in some new faces to bolster the Reds chances.
However, while examining the players performances this season, an obvious question posed is; ‘Is it ‘Vital’ Liverpool add to their squad this January?’
In goal, much has been debated about Simon Mignolet’s form, however, as he is on the verge of signing a new deal he is likely to keep his place in the squad. Backed up by impressive summer signing Adam Bogdan, who announced himself at Anfield with penalty shoot out heroics in the Capital One Cup against Oldham.
Defensively, Klopp seems to have a settled back four. Disrupted slightly by the recent injury of Dejan Lovren against West Brom, although he still has plenty of options. Martin Skrtel and Kolo Toure are the obvious choice at the moment but with Mamadou Sakho soon returning to full fitness and Emre Can as an emergency stand in, this area is not a concern for the Boss.
Nathaniel Clyne and Alberto Moreno are Liverpool’s preferable full-back options. Jürgen Klopp has been seen to give youngsters time to shine in these positions such as Conor Randall and Brad Smith, who have delivered amiably. Also with young Jon Flanagan hoping to provide the same quality he possessed in the 2013-2014 campaign, when he returns to the squad in the next week or so. The Reds should feel comfortable with the options open to them and no defensive position is under scrutiny.
The centre of midfield is an area, where he may look to strengthen. We know from Jürgen Klopp’s time at Borussia Dortmund that he likes two box to box midfielders. We have two midfielders who can offer this trait, in Jordan Henderson and Emre Can, who are both extremely mobile and love to get inside the opponents box. As we saw this weekend, when Henderson made a terrific run into the penalty area to meet Adam Lallana’s header and he finished it superbly.
As time goes on, we will tend to find that Lucas Leiva will start less games for Liverpool as his qualities are primarily defensive and may find it difficult to find a regular place in Klopp’s starting line-up. Joe Allen could also slip out of favour, despite being a tidy and hard working midfielder, he struggles to add goals and assists to his game. This could mean that he has less playing time, and may not fit into the new bosses style of play. A new central midfielder which possesses real quality could be on Jürgen Klopp’s christmas list.
Attacking wise, there are a healthy number of options which Klopp has to play with, however, many still have much to prove at Liverpool. A slight problem the manager could face, is having three players in the number 10 role (Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana) and when one is transferred to a wider position, they happen to be less successful. James Milner is no doubt a hard worker and delivers good width for his team but lacks real pace which could be seen as an issue in his future at Liverpool. The young exciting talent of Jordan Ibe, looks to be a good future prospect for the club as he has lightning pace and power. Although, due to his inexperience, he may need time to consistently add goals and assists to his game. To sum up, there are many outlets for Liverpool in attack, however a lack of pace may worry the manager.
Finally, upfront Liverpool are littered with options, firstly, £32 million man Christian Benteke who has shown what he is capable of since he has joined the club. Divock Origi, who looks to be in fine form and Daniel Sturridge who should be back within several weeks. Also a popular option for Klopp is playing with a false nine, with Roberto Firmino being the furthest one forward in this process, that has without doubt been very successful for Liverpool as we have seen off big clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City.
Overall, Jürgen Klopp has options in all positions. However, he may feel, to be successful, and achieve his aims, a few new faces to the squad would be welcomed and definitely benefit him, in his first year as Liverpool manager.